Soup Stew Chili
Last Sunday I showed you how to cook a Thanksgiving meal for two with a little bit leftover to enjoy another day. Today I sharing a fun way to utilize Thanksgiving leftovers, inspired by my grandmother and her ability to make soup out of anything.
When I first decided to make a noodle soup with leftover turkey, I realized that gravy is literally reduced stock (assuming you cook down the turkey juices to make gravy) and therefore could be reconstituted in this soup. Take a moment to bask in my glorious realization. Of course you could use premade stock or a store-bought stock concentrate but if you have gravy you may as well use it! After how delicious my gravy turned out, I couldn’t see how it could possibly be a bad idea.
One year ago: Gluten-Free Ooey Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Two years ago: Pecan Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake
Awhile back I shared my dad’s chili which he and I have both entered into several chili cook-offs and either won or came in second place. For the a recent cook-off with his pickleball crew, he entered a slightly altered version and won again (and hence the name of this version)! He is a master of his recipes, even when it comes to making changes and improvements, and as a result I trust his recipes/modifications before all others. Yet he claims that I am the cook and he just follows recipes. Such modesty!
But anywho. My dad shared his newest chili recipe with me and I decided that the perfect time to make it was when my friends came to visit this past weekend. It helped that everyone was in a chili mood with fall all around us. So while lounging around and just spending quality time together on Saturday, this simmered away on the stove top until we couldn’t bear the teasing aromas any longer. Crammed around my dining room table, it pleased and satisfied everyone’s taste buds! A couple people added a little hot sauce to theirs but that’s to be expected as everyone has different spicy preferences.
It was so great to have 5 of my favorite people in town for the weekend and was very sad to see them all leave yesterday. We had crazy conversations and nerdy-intellectual conversations, played games, watched movies, ate and cooked a lot of great food, went out to Beale street and just did what friends do best. Now back to the stinky norm of living 8+ hours away from them. Beware Memphis friends, I may be extra needy this week.
One year ago: Sweet Potato Pie Dip with Pie Crust Dippers
Even though it was warm here yesterday, it rained most of the day (poor trick-or-treaters) and rain definitely puts me in a soup mood. Specifically tomato soup with grilled cheese to dip into it. And even better when it’s a slow cooker recipe, filling your home with wonderful aromas to come home to at the end of the day. Granted you cannot eat it immediately as it requires an additional step at the end, but you won’t hear me complaining.
Despite the 70-degree weather, I made this soup earlier this week and have been enjoying it ever since. However I do wish I would start to feel like fall for more than 2 days. I was so excited to finally bust out my jackets and boots last weekend but they have been put on hold once again. It’s difficult for me to get into the holiday spirit when I am still wearing short sleeves and flats! Alas, I just have to continue preparing meals as if it were a brisk fall day outside.
P.S. Stayed tuned for Monday’s post to hear about the fat-kid-friendly grilled cheese I served with this soup!
One year ago: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Broccoli
It’s finally cooling down here in Memphis, which means it’s chili time! Normally when I crave chili I gravitate towards the beef version, but sometimes I like a little variety with chicken, known as white chili or in this case ghost chili for the upcoming spooky holiday.
I have shared a white chicken chili before and this recipe today is an adaptation from that. The updates included hominy, red bell pepper, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, a cornbread topping and served with a chioptle creama. It’s also prepared in a large cast iron skillet so you can throw it in the oven in order to bake the cornbread right on top. Less dishes!
This chili was already a favorite of mine, but the addition of the cornbread topping won me over all over again. The sweetness from the cornbread perfectly balanced out the spiciness of the chili. I chose a boxed mix in order to cut down on prep time but you can use a boxed mix or your favorite cornbread recipe. Just make sure to not overfill the skillet when adding the raw batter, otherwise it will overflow as it bakes and expands.
I know a lot of you are probably expecting a post about my NYC adventures I mentioned on Friday, or Luke’s 1st birthday party, but today is dedicated to March’s Secret Recipe Club and this time I got to choose something from A Cook’s Quest! I was very interested in Jenn’s Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Cream Sauce, and her Peanut Butter Struesel Brownies, but decided to go for something a little different – a soup made with tortellini. I actually worried this soup was going to taste like eating tortellini in too much sauce/watered down sauce, but it was excellent! Imagine a flavorful, creamy tomato soup, with cheesy tortellini thrown into the mix. Pretty much a great idea.
I’m not sure what has changed in my schedule these days, but lately feel as though I have a lot less time than before. Yes, I come into lab late at night sometimes and on weekends for various experiments, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. Even more strange is that I feel like I spend less time cooking/baking than I used to, and have missed a day or two here and there at the gym (which is so not like me). Where has all the time gone??
With this mysterious change in time, recipes that require less time are even more enticing than usual. Enter this quick and healthy chowder. Chowders are definitely comfort food, and they become even more comforting when they are healthified! This recipe caught my attention because of my my happy experience with cauliflower pizza crust. It’s made with cauliflower and milk instead of potatoes and heavy cream, which magically tastes almost like the real thing but with less carbs.
Oh fall, how I love you (even though spring is my favorite) and all the heart warming food you bring – football feasts, seasonal flavors, pre-hibernation worthy foods, and of course soups! Whenever it first starts to get cold, especially on a cold rainy day, I always crave tomato basil soup and a gooey grilled cheese. If only I had a fireplace to go with it (instead I have a fireplace scented candle and a fireplace dvd). But thankfully, I have more curiosity into the world of soups than to just stick with tomato all the time.
The first soup of this fall season is this chicken gnocchi soup. It is supposed to be a copy cat recipe of the soup at Olive Garden, although I cannot say how close it resembles because I’ve never had theirs. I haven’t been to an Olive Garden in a long time because of my habit to eat at local restaurants more often than chains. But either way, if this soup is at all like theirs then it might be my favorite on their menu.
I served it with toasted whole wheat pita wedges that had been buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder inside. Mmmm.
Frequent flyer miles irritate me. I have been flying all over the place this year on Delta, including to Europe, and I still have not stocked up enough to be bumped up to whatever the next level is from the bottom. I sometimes think that frequent flyer mile programs are only meant for business folks who travel for their jobs. Which seems unfair since their job is paying for all of it anyway. And speaking of frequent flyer miles, assuming it wouldn’t be as much of a pain to stock up on how about frequent driver miles? My time in the car has greatly increased as of late and I feel like there should be some compensation for it. I’d take even a free CD of my choice to keep me entertained and awake. Music provides safety.
But I digress. Let’s talk about soup. Yes soup in the middle of this hot, gross summer. For some reason when you call it “chowder” it becomes summer appropriate and sounds more appealing. This corn chowder uses corn freshly cut from the cob and there’s even a mix of zucchini and orzo to top it off. This was one batch of leftovers I didn’t mind eating for a few days in a row.
Before I dive into the St. Patrick’s Day themed Holiday Recipe Club post today, I suppose I should tell you how my mom’s surgery went after the dramatic story I told yesterday. Agreed? I feel like I am dangling something tantalizing in front of you.
The pre-op business took all of the morning and then the balloon test to make sure they could proceed with the real surgery took a little while longer. Surgery didn’t truly begin until mid-afternoon. Originally the plan was to cut off the carotid artery as she had enough blood flow without it due to a precious surgery, but the process was causing her to become sick (vagal response) despite all of their efforts. Being a life-threatening situation, they went ahead and tried something else which only had a 1% chance of being completed…
They got it to work! The doctor was ecstatic (myself and family included) and said the carotid artery was saved via stent and the aneurysm itself was now filled 95% with coils. He may have to go back in to fill the remaining 5%, but we shall see how things go. Of course I didn’t have a clue how these coils worked so after my aunt explaining to me what she was told by a nurse, and a little research on the web, it is a platinum coil that causes a clotting reaction to occur within the aneurysm itself and will hopefully eliminate it! I even found a little video if you care to watch on YouTube.
I didn’t get to speak with my mom but she is feeling well despite the nausea from the anesthetic. She will be held in the ICU overnight and will likely be in the hospital for another 2-3 days. I am very much relieved for it to be over. (Update: if the MRI results today look good she’s going home tomorrow!)
As for the bouquet of cake balls, being that the hospital is 2 hours from their home they have not made their presence known yet. Wish I had gotten them in the mail sooner so that they could have arrived on Tuesday instead. I wasn’t thinking it through and just wanted them to be there when she was done with surgery so I went for Wednesday. Hopefully their neighbor was able to scoop up the package so that it won’t be sitting outside the entire time they are gone.
But now I must redirect you into thinking about the upcoming holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. For today’s post we had to choose between pistachios, potatoes, and beer. My mind immediately went to soup. And a green one such as split-pea, with potatoes and beer. Little did I know that split-pea is an acceptable Irish food item with which to celebrate the holiday. Learning stuff is cool!
This was my first time ever making split-pea soup. In fact the last time I witnessed it being homemade by anyone was decades ago by my grandmother. I don’t recall how she makes it (and I doubt she does either because she’s from the generation that doesn’t need recipes), but I kind of like my split-pea soup a bit thicker. With the chunks of potato and carrot it ended up stew-y, and it was awesome. Especially when served with asiago biscuit twists. If you like a thinner split-pea, then simply stop cooking it when it reaches your preferred consistency.
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One year ago: Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups dried split peas, rinsed
9 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2″ thick
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 quarts reduced sodium chicken broth
1-12 oz. bottle of ale
Salt and pepper
- In a large stock pot or French oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Combine the remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper, in the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cover slightly with the lid. Allow to cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook until it reaches a desired consistency (I cooked mine a little on the thicker side). If it cooks down too much, simply add more chicken broth or water.
Source: Adapted from Teenie Cakes
My experiments at lab seem to have me functioning in awkward and inconvenient time frames a lot the past 3 months. Thankfully the results have been pretty good thus far, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain so long as it continues to cooperate. It is comforting to feel like your efforts weren’t for nothing.
Speaking of things being comforting how about this soup?
Yes I just made yet another cheesy transition. (Are you keeping count on how many times I do that?) But truly I loved this soup. This soup actually almost didn’t even happen. First it appears that barley is a rare commodity in these parts, so it took awhile to even find that final ingredient after I originally saw this recipe. And then when I was ready to make it one weeknight, I neglected to read the recipe through ahead of time (fail) and realized dinner wouldn’t be ready for a little over 3 hours. I may have had dessert for dinner and then dinner for dessert that night.
So the lesson here is to first live in an area that has decent grocery stores, and second to read recipes fully before you make them! Unless you like having soup for dessert. (I have to admit however, I didn’t mind ending my meals for the day on the note of this soup.)
BEEF WITH BARLEY SOUP
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. beef cubes (for stew)
1 large onion, medium diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, smaller ends cut into rounds, larger ends diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and large diced
1-1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
6 cups beef stock
2 cups water, if needed
1/2 cups pearl barley
1/2 tsp thyme
1 whole bay leaf
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
- Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.
- Brown the beef cubes for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking.
- Add everything except the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth.
- Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.